No stoppin’ the Bakken (headline courtesy of the Minot Daily News)

I am back in Minot working for Wenck Associates.  Wenck Associates are civil engineers, environmental engineers, and scientists.  The three Wenck North Dakota offices opened in 2003, 2009 and 2012 to better serve our North Dakota clients. In Fargo, Mandan and Minot, our teams focus on Municipal Landfills and Solid Waste Services; providing the Oil and Gas Industries with Natural Resources and Air Quality Services; and assists clients to develop infrastructure. Our team has an extensive background in project management as it relates to engineering design, construction administration, permitting/regulatory requirements, and renewable energy projects.  We also work with land developers to help them with their residential, commercial, and industrial projects from initial design through permitting and construction.  Personally, I am a civil engineer licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota.  Ok, that is some background about me and my company.

I am from Minneapolis and people ask me what it is really like out here in the Bakken area.  Other parts of the nation hear things on the news about the strong economy and the oil boom.  I want to give my perspective as an engineer working in the Bakken.

Things are still very busy.  It is cold.  I thought Minneapolis was cold.  But northwestern North Dakota is even colder.  Even in the cold winter months there is “No stoppin’ the Bakken” (that slogan is courtesy of the Minot Daily News).  People just have to bundle up (layering is the secret).  The last three days the temperature has been a frigid sub-zero and gusty winds.

The need for housing for all of the workers coming to the region is still present.  With the new residents a need for commercial development is necessary.  Many of these workers are making good money and are looking for a place to spend it.  I see many young men driving brand new fancy pick-up trucks.  I was in the Applebee’s in Minot last night and the bartender told me that the ratio of men to women in Minot is 8:1.  And I believe it.

With the lack of commercial establishments and workers expect to wait a little longer for things.  If you are unhappy with the service you just can’t go to the competitor because they are just as busy.  Patience is a virtue in the region.

Today I am in a coffee shop I discovered near the campus of Minot State University, called Beaver Brew Café.  The coffee is great and the service is friendly.  Amber, the barista working, gave me a background of the coffee shop.  $1,000,000 was donated to the Minot State University Entrepreneurship club by a local entrepreneur and the club was able to pick the business they wanted to start.  The club chose a coffee shop and they wrote the business plan and did all of the start-up work and they now run the shop.  And do a great job!  Here are some pictures of the Beaver Brew Cafe.

In future blogs I will document my experiences in the Bakken.  I hope you keep reading and add your comments and questions.  I post a lot of interesting articles and facts about the Bakken on my LinkedIn page ( and my Twitter account (@paulwallickpe).

5 thoughts on “No stoppin’ the Bakken (headline courtesy of the Minot Daily News)

  1. I am from Williston and have family there. It is difficult to navigate and very exciting at the same time. The homogenous culture is now multi-faceted. All in all, it is a place of great possibility and hope. The original shock of what was happening to a quiet, rural ND town is giving way to quiet acceptance for those who have always lived there.

    • I was in Williston yesterday for some meetings. Lots of traffic and very busy town. Some new developments that are looking good. I drove by one called Confluence of Harvest Hills. I like the architecture of the housing units. Getting some nice diversity. I will blog about Williston soon.

    • Grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels.
      Almost anything will work, last year I heard of kids setting up a kool-aid stand and they were swamped.
      Other service industries including portable toilets and the trucks to pump and haul the sewage, oil change, fitness and workout facilities.
      As I write this I think of more things. Almost any business you want to open will be successful if well managed just like anywhere else.

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